Szijjarto meets Lavrov in Moscow to discuss new gas deals despite EU sanctions

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Hungarian Foreign Minister asks for more gas in Moscow 

"Energy security in Hungary, peace in Europe. These two tasks set the agenda for today's meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov," - Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto posted on his social media before he sat down with Lavrov in Moscow. 

They discussed crucial bilateral issues between the two countries in detail. The Russian foreign minister pointed out that the bilateral trade in goods have increased by 25 percent last year despite the pandemic.

During the talks, Lavrov told Szijjarto that 'Washington's Russophobic policies are damaging' to Hungarian-Russian relations. He also criticized the sanctions implied by the EU and the US. Despite the sanctions, the Russian foreign minister promised to seek opportunities for cooperation with Hungary.

"We already have 27,3 percent of Hungary's annual consumption in storage. Across Europe, this figure is 17,3 percent," said Szijjarto, and he explained that in 'normal times' the amount he mentioned would be enough, but they need to be 'even more secure,'. " In addition to the existing contracts, we need to purchase 700 million cubic meters of natural has to secure the country's energy supply (...) Like it or not [buying natural gas] wouldn't be possible without recourses from Russia," he added." a fact remains a fact, and reality remains a reality."

Lavrov also mentioned that Moscow intends to continue the expansion of the Paks nuclear power plant, which they consider a strategic project.

Budapest's ties with Moscow have been wildly criticized in Western Europe and the United States over the past years. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Hungary has adopted a more neutral position to Russia.

Hungary's President signs new tax law

Katalin Novák, Hungary's Head of State has signed the amended tax law that sparked protests all over the country. From September, hundreds of thousands of Hungarians who have used the simplified tax regime, KATA will have to look for other solutions or close their business. Opposition parties have asked Novák earlier to send the bill back to parliament.

Novák posted about her decision on her social media, saying she 'sensed' the outrage over the new law and that it 'would have been better if the amendments had been decided after a substantive consultation'.

Orban rejects protesters' petition

During a parliamentary session opposition MPs tried to hand over a petition from the protesters to PM Viktor Orban, but he refused to take it. In the petition, the protesters demanded the government reconsider the cuts in the public utility bill, postpone the introduction of the KATA( simplified tax regime)-amendment until January and redesign it before that.

Opposition politicians also tried to hand the petition over to Szilard Nemeth,  deputy leader of the ruling Fidesz party, but he refused to take it.

Hungarian Parliament Adopts 11th Amendment to Constitution

On Tuesday, the Hungarian Parliament voted in favor of the eleventh amendment to the Constitution. The amendment was adopted with 140 votes in favor and 36 nay. 

According to the new modifications, from January 1st, 2023, Hungary’s counties will be called ‘vármegye’ (translates as “castle county”). The term was last used in Hungary before World War II. “ According to MTI (Hungary's state news agency), the use of the archaic term better emphasizes that the 'structure of the Hungarian state and structure is the protection of national sovereignty, and through this, the cornerstones of European civilization'. According to the new law, government officials will be called “ispans” reference to officials who represented the king in historic times.

The amendment also allows for local and EP elections to be held on the same day in 2024.

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